Title: The effect of time zone difference on asynchronous communications in global software development

Authors: Liguo Yu; Zhong Guan; Srini Ramaswamy

Addresses: Department of Computer Science and Informatics, Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, IN, USA ' Department of Mathematical Science, Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, IN, USA ' Industrial Software Systems, ABB Corporate Research Center, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Abstract: Working collaboratively across time zone differences is an important issue for distributed software development projects. In such work, computer mediated communications, especially mailing lists, have been widely used for global software development. It is commonly agreed on that time zone differences have a negative impact on real time communications, such as instant messaging and video conferences. However, research results are unclear on whether time zone differences can cause excessive delays in asynchronous communication mediums, such as emails and discussion boards. This paper studies the effect of time zone differences through mining and investigating the Linux kernel mailing list archive. We extract time zone differences and message communication delays between developers. Statistical tests are used to analyse and identify correlations. Our study shows that within the Linux project, time zone differences between developers have a significant effect on short-term email communication delays of 24 hours or less.

Keywords: time zone differences; time zone effects; asynchronous communications; mailing lists; global software development; follow the sun workflow; distributed software development; emails; discussion boards; email delays.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2016.075523

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2016 Vol.53 No.3, pp.213 - 225

Published online: 28 Mar 2016 *

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